Toronto Public Library Homepage

This page has been archived and is no longer updated.

Video Tutorials

MOOCs for Professional Development

September 15, 2014 | Susan | Comments (1)

Today, I’d like to share something amazing that has the potential to change the course of your career: Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs for short. 

MOOCs are courses, often offered by top universities, that are available online for anyone with Internet access to take free of charge. This means no hefty tuition fees and unlimited access to courses anytime, anywhere. Many MOOCs are very relevant to libraries and TPL, but before I share a few of my favourites, I thought I'd tell you a little bit more about them. 

An unlimited number of participants can register for a MOOC simultaneously and, in fact, very large numbers of people are often enrolled in any given MOOC. Lectures are pre-recorded and videos are made available, along with additional readings, homework, and quizzes. MOOCs even come with their very own virtual classrooms, interactive discussion forums where students, professors and teaching assistants can discuss course content, ask questions, and provide feedback and support. MOOCs have a start date, weekly deadlines, and an end date. Participants who complete all coursework on time and receive a passing grade earn a certificate, signed by the instructorhowever, many MOOCs are also archived so that those who missed a session can go back and learn at their own pace. 

There are many websites that provide access to MOOCs. A few good ones are: Coursera, EdX, and Stanford Online.

MOOC Word Cloud

If you took a look at the links above, you might have noticed that there are thousands of different courses being offered by hundreds of universities and professionals, in dozens of fields. Added up, that's a lot to choose from! If you're as excited about MOOCs as I am, or would just like to give one a try, remember to pay attention to the following factors before you get started:

  • course description
  • credentials of the instructor
  • affiliated institution,
  • prerequisite knowledge required to enroll
  • course syllabus
  • course duration
  • require workload (often listedas hours of work / week)

To get you started, I've selected a few MOOCs that I thought you might find interesting and subdivided them into four categories: Librarianship, Cataloguing, Management and Makerspaces. 


  • Changing the Global Course of Learning Open Knowledge, Stanford University. Topics covered include open source, open science, open data, open access, open education, and open learning. They are discussed from various perspectives, including librarianship, publishing, education, economics, politics and more. September 02, 2014 - December 12, 2014
  • Library Advocacy Unshushed Wendy Newman, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Learn how to advocate for libraries so that they continue to thrive for generations to come. Archived.
  • New Librarianship Master Class R. David Lankes, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Megan Oakleaf and Jian Qin, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. Wondering what the future holds for libraries? R. David Lankes thinks libraries should move away from books, catalogues and buildings and instead adopt the mission statement: “to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities". Archived.


  • Metadata: Organizing and Discovering Information Jeffrey Pomerantz, School of Information and Library Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Take an in-depth look at how information is organized for retrieval in libraries, databases and on the Web. July 14, 2014 – September 10, 2014. Archived.


  • An Introduction to Operations Management Christian Terwiesch, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The management skills that you need to run any operation, whether a restaurant, hospital, or library, are essentially the same. After this course, you'll look at the workplace with different eyes, detecting bottlenecks, identifying productivity wastes, and coming up with ideas to improve various processes. September 29, 2014 – November 24, 2014 


  • Introduction to Computational Arts Margaret Anne Schedel, Faculty of Music, State University of New York. Are you excited about the maker programs at TPL? Why not join the fun and learn some basic image and audio editing, including how to use Processing, Photoshop or Gimp, and Logic or Soundation. August 25, 2014 – December 19, 2014.
  • An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python Joe Warren, Scott Rixner, John Greiner, & Stephen Wong, Rice University. Learning to program in Python can be fun and easy with this group of hilarious and talented professors who know just how to make you fall in love with coding. September 15, 2014 to November 16, 2014.

Make it your Business

March 19, 2014 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

There are a lot of resources on businesses at the library. In addition to the business programs, business inc., and business network, there are the business databases. The most popular ones include: 

Business Insights: Global (Formerly Business and Company Resource Centre)
This database is international in scope. You can research, analyze, interpret & better understand country, company, and industry information as well as gain access to key financials, market share reports, and investment reports on private and public companies worldwide. You can make investment decisions with access historical stock price trends. It is also possible to compare countries, companies and industries and to export a comparison chart. 


Financial Post (FP) Advisor
This database provides detailed information on Canadian publicly traded companies, and some private companies, Crown corporations and municipal & provincial agencies.  You can find details about companies, information on predecessors and defunct companies, investor reports, historical reports, industry reports, information on dividends, as well as mergers and acquisitions.


Mergent Online
This database contains detailed global financial data on over 15,000 U.S. public companies, 20,000 non-U.S. public companies from 100 countries, 20,000 U.S. municipal bond issuers, and extensive information on corporate bonds, dividends, corporate actions and unit investment trusts. You can access industry reports on a variety of sectors as well as country reports on over 90 countries.


Scott's Business Directories Online
This database contains company information on over 190,000 businesses located in Canada.  Information includes basic contact information on Canadian agencies and companies in manufacturing, government, medical educational sectors. You may find web site and email address as well as size of company, annual sales and year established.


Summertime Reading - Zinio eMagazines

June 28, 2013 | Joanne | Comments (0)

Chatelaine ENG 6-24-2013 10-02-14 AM   Hello Canada -24-2013 10-03-28 AM
Newsweek 6-24-2013 10-21-58 AM  Golf Tips 6-24-2013 10-07-37 AM


Summer is a great time to get caught up on magazine reading. Zinio eMagazines, a new service, offers unlimited access to current issues of over 300 popular magazines. You can check out as many magazines as you like. Magazine issues are always available and remain on your computer or device until you delete them.

Some key features:

  • You will need a Toronto Public Library card to register for Zinio
  • You will have to create two accounts using the same email address and password - one at to check out magazines and a Reader account to read checked out magazines via streaming online with computers and/or downloaded offline via mobile apps. The same email address and password should be used to create the two accounts
  • For tablet and device customers there is a free Zinio mobile app to read and download magazines. Go to to select the appropriate app for your device.
  • You need to return to the Toronto Public Library Zinio eMagazines page every month to get the next issue

Please see a Zinio User Guide for help with Getting Started with Zinio eMagazines.

Passport to Communication – Let’s Go Mango!

June 7, 2013 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

Mango Languages database is an online language-learning system that can help you learn over 30 languages like Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Greek, Italian and more.

Mango Languages for the World

The online language learning resource uses real-life situations and actual conversations to more effectively teach a new language. By listening to and repeating after material designed from native conversations, you will not only learn the individual words and phrases, you will know how they are used in practical situations and conversations. You will learn more than grammar and vocabulary. You will learn how to communicate.

  Mango Languages
The database is very useful when you travel as you can acquire practical verbal skills in another language for everyday polite conversation situations. Click on the video for a quick overview of how to go about learning a new language or even improving on a language you already know.

Click on "Mango Languages Database" or start the video below:



 See also related post:
Aloha! Pehea ‘oe? Learn Hawaiian with Mango Languages Database & your Library Card!

Got Film Fest Fever? Get Film Indexes Online!

September 2, 2012 | Susan | Comments (0)

The 37th Toronto International Film Festival is coming up soon, from September 6th to 16th, 2012. If you are suffering from a serious case of film fest fever, find relief through the library and get Film Indexes Online!


 Image of Fumeo film projector by Mattia Luigi Nappi via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons license.

Previously accessible from Research and Reference branches only, Film Indexes Online is now available from any Toronto Public Library branch or from home using your library barcode and PIN, which is great news for serious researchers, students, and film buffs alike.

Film Indexes Online is a portal to three top-notch film resources:

1.American Film International Catalog (AFI)

AFI documents over 48,000 American feature films produced between 1893 and 1973. Most records include substantial plot summaries and comprehensive filmographic information, plus citations for reviews and articles. Includes the popular "AFI 100 Years..." series of cinematic milestones, such as AFI's Top 100 Movies, Top 25 Musicals, and Top 50 Stars. Compiled by the American Film Institute (AFI) and updated twice annually.

Filmindexesonline2. FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals Plus (FIAF Plus)

FIAF Plus provides abstracts and full-text articles from some 340 academic and popular film periodicals from 1972 to the prsent. Produced in collaboration with the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) and updated monthly.

3. Film Index International (FII)

FII features cross-referenced records for 120,000 films and 750,000 film personalities from over 180 countries. Coverage is from 1900 to the present and includes all genres of film, from the first silent movies to the most recent blockbusters. Also includes international film awards, searchable plot summaries, and annotated citations. Based on the Summary of Information on Film and Televison (SIFT) database from the British Film Institute (BFI) and updated twice annually.

Film Indexes Online can be used to search all three databases at the same time or each separately. With the all-in-one search you can search or browse by keyword, film title, date, or person. The search interface supports Boolean, exact, truncation, and proximity searching. For more advanced searches, you can search each database separately to take advantage of unique functionality (e.g., hierarchical subject thesauri).

For a video demonstration of how to use Film Indexes Online click here.

Wondering how the Film Indexes Online database compares to the freely available website resource Internet Movie Database (IMDB)? To find out, I searched for one of my all-time favourite films, Rear Window, in both resources.

Here is some of what I found:

Source material: 

The AFI record in Film Indexes Online notes that the film is based on the short story "It Had To Be Murder" by Cornell Woolrich, published in Dime Detective in February 1942, and includes a brief publication history of the story. The IMDB record, by comparison, simply lists Cornell Woolrich under "Writing credits".

Subject indexing:

The AFI record includes two genre headings (Mystery, Suspense), plus dozens of primary and secondary cross-referenced subject headings (e.g., Apartment buildings, Voyeurism, Traveling salesmen). IMDB, on the other hand, includes three genre headings (Mystery, Romance, Thriller) but lacks controlled subject headings.


The combined records in Film Indexes Online include approximately 200 citations to reviews and articles, including approximately three dozen that were published at the time of the film's original release. The IMDB record does not include any citations to published reviews or articles, but does include hundreds of user reviews and an active message board.

In sum, while IMDB is a useful and popular ready reference tool, Film Indexes Online in the resource to use for more complex reference questions and scholarly research.

Happy film fest everyone!

E-CPS - Drug Information

August 13, 2012 | Niki | Comments (0)

 MC900439602[1]e-CPS has so much more to offer than the big blue book.  While still the top resource for the use and interactions of drugs available in Canada, e-Therapeutics also contains information on illnesses and conditions.  "Therapeutic Choices" presents an overview of the prevention and treatment of medical conditions such as influenza and age-related macular degeneration.  Under the tab "Drug Interactions" is a powerful tool.  LexiComp's Lexi-Interact allows you to type in the name of a drug or natural product and then  brings up a list of products and the the severity of the interactions.

The information in e-CPS is updated every two weeks or more  frequently depending on the urgency of the information.  Health Canada alerts are added to the drug monographs as they are issued. 

All in all a great source of current, Canadian drug information.

Download CPS (Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties with




All things Canadian databases - Canada's Information Resource Centre

September 27, 2011 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

Canada's Information Resource Centre

Canada's Information Resource Centre databases give instant access to information on Canadian organizations, businesses, libraries, schools, governments, and cultural institutions. The list of databases includes:

  • Associations Canada
  • Canadian Almanac & Directory 
  • Canadian Environmental Resource Guide
  • Canadian Parliamentary Guide
  • Financial Services Canada
  • Governments Canada
  • Libraries Canada

Click on  Canada's Information Resource Centre-An Overview for an overview of the above databases and the breadth of information available.


                 MapleLeaf01                MapleLeaf01                MapleLeaf01


What's up ... docx?

June 28, 2011 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

Microsoft word documents created using MS-Office 95 to MS-Office 2003 have the file extension as .doc while Microsoft word documents created using MS-Office 2007 have the extension as .docx. You can open older version files in Office 2007 and can work with them, but to open files with .docx extension, you need to use the Microsoft Office Viewer.

Click on  What's up ... docx? to find out how.


Welcome to the Information Services Blog! Visit often to learn about useful tools, collections and other resources to help answer reference questions. Get the scoop on new and innovative trends and services. Join us and send us your feedback!